Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Rose at New Years

Christmas Rose at New Years
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
Out with the Old and in with the New.

What I love most about my photography (aside from the fact that this image is a scan) - is being surprised by what I've captured.

So, there I was putting away the groceries this afternoon, when I noticed the first of my Christmas roses was going. And it was leaving in a stunning manner... all these leathery wrinkles.

So, I plucked it out and took it to my studio and tried to take some pictures. Haven't looked at them just yet. ... perhaps I will be surprised again, but it didn't seem to be going all that well.

Trying a different approach, I laid the rose on the scanner. That went OK. And then I happened to zoom in.

Wonderful surprise!

The rose has these Maurice Chevalier lips...
kissing the old year good bye.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tikkun Olam

He sees you
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
This Sunday morning, 7 a.m., found me in my usual place,
on my yoga mat, in front of my altar,
doing a combination of asanas, back exercises, calisthenics
and wrestling with Bennie.

On the radio, Christa Tippett was speaking with Dr. Rachael Naomi Remen, in a program entitled Listening Generously.

DR. REMEN: [My grandfather] was a flaming mystic, and he was also a magnificent storyteller.

MS. TIPPETT: What do you mean when you say he was a flaming mystic?

DR. REMEN: …it means many different things. It can mean a scholarly thing, like the study of a school of mysticism like Kabbalah, but it's also a way of seeing the world.
My grandfather felt that the world was in constant communication with him,
that there was a spirit in the world,
a God in the world that could be spoken to and could respond at all times,
that there was a presence in the world that was holy and sacred and that he was in constant dialogue with this as he went through the events of his day.

I think mysticism can be defined in many different ways.
I didn't know that my grandfather was a mystic.
… I just knew that the world that he lived in was the world I wanted to live in, too.

MS. TIPPETT: You recount this idea of the Kabbalah,… that at the beginning of the creation, the holy was broken up…

DR. REMEN: …this was my fourth birthday present, this story.

In the beginning there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof, the source of life. And then, in the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand thousand things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light.
And then, perhaps because this is a Jewish story, there was an accident, and the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke.
And the wholeness of the world, the light of the world was scattered into a thousand thousand fragments of light, and they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day.

Now, according to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, to lift it up and make it visible once again and thereby to restore the innate wholeness of the world.
It's a very important story for our times.
And this task is called tikkun olam in Hebrew.
It's the restoration of the world.

…And this is, of course, a collective task.
It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently alive, all people yet to be born.
We are all healers of the world.
And that story opens a sense of possibility.
It's not about healing the world by making a huge difference.
It's about healing the world that touches you, that's around you….

It's a very old story, comes from the 14th century, and it's a different way of looking at our power… I'm not a person who is a political person in the usual sense of that word,
but I think that we all feel that we're not enough to make a difference,
that we need to be more somehow,
either wealthier or more educated or somehow or other different than the people we are.

And according to this story, we are exactly what's needed.
And to just wonder about that a little,
what if we were exactly what's needed?
What then?
How would I live if I was exactly what's needed to heal the world?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Becoming Human

cliché in winter
Originally uploaded by LunaSol
I have spent this cold and rainy day alone.
Though a friend did call as she drove to Asheville. She wanted to discuss her ability to receive and to be open.
And I listened on the radio for updates on the death of Benazir Bhutto, an event that has saddened me to tears.
And I did email here and there and received replies.
I felt like I was chatting.
I was also trying to “be productive” and managed to take a couple pictures that I liked enough to post to Flickr.

But by late afternoon, the rain, the cold, the seeing no one in person was sinking in.
I went to bed quite early, feeling physically kind of crummy.
Dozed right off and then awoke.
Sitting up in the bed, I had finally come to simply sitting in the night,
taking in the angle of the shadows on the wall,
and the oh so pregnant Silence.

I was alone, but not lonely.
In such Silence that is impossible.
I had finally settled down through the loneliness that had vaguely haunted me throughout the day.

So, I wanted to share with you the writing of Jean Vanier.
His book, Becoming Human, begins with a reflection upon loneliness.

This book is about the liberation of the human heart from the tentacles of chaos and loneliness, and from those fears that provoke us to exclude and reject others. It is a liberation that opens us up and leads us to the discovery of our common humanity… it is the discovery that ultimately finds its fulfillment in forgiveness and in loving those who are our enemies. It is the process of becoming truly human….

A sense of loneliness can be covered up by the things we do as we seek recognition and success. This is surely what I did as a young adult. It is what we all do. We all have this drive to do things that will be seen by others as valuable, things that make us feel good about ourselves and give us a sense of being alive. We only become aware of loneliness at times when we cannot perform or when imagination seems to fail us.

Loneliness can appear as a faint dis-ease, an inner dis-satisfaction, a restlessness of the heart… Loneliness can feel like death…

Loneliness is part of being human, because there is nothing in existence that can completely fulfill the needs of the human heart.

Loneliness in one form is, in fact, essential to our humanity. Loneliness can become a source of creative energy, the energy that drives us down new paths to create new things or to seek more truth and justice in the world…

Loneliness is the fundamental force that urges mystics to a deeper union with God…It pushes them towards the absolute. An experience of God quenches this thirst for the absolute but at the same time, paradoxically, whets it, because this is an experience that can never be total; by necessity, the knowledge of God is always partial. So loneliness opens up mystics to a desire to love each and every human being as God loves them.

And I think that that will do for this rainy night in Georgia.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas with Jean Vanier

My Sunday morning routine of asanas accompanied by classical music changed when our local Public Broadcasting radio station changed its schedule.

Now, rather than music, I am more likely to be listening to Christa Tippett’s program, “Speaking of Faith.” That’s OK. After all, it is Sunday.

The Sunday before Christmas brought up what I thought was a “repeat.” I’d already heard one show on Jean Vanier and the L’Arche community. So, there was a bit of internal grumbling as I stretched into the next asana.

But if this was a repetition, I hadn’t really listened before.
Or more likely, I wasn’t ready to hear before.
But, I stopped my yoga mid-posture when I heard these word:

You see, the big thing for me is to love reality and not live in the imagination, not live in what could have been or what should have been or what can be, and somewhere, to love reality and then discover that God is present.
Jean Vanier

I would like to do this too.

And I would like to share some snippets of transcript (edited a bit for a smoother read) as my belated Christmas message.

MS. TIPPETT: … in 1963, Jean Vanier was a professor of philosophy at St. Michael's College in Toronto. At Christmas time that year, he went to visit a friend in France who was working as a chaplain for men with mental handicaps. Vanier found himself drawn to these human beings shut away from society. He was especially moved by a vast asylum south of Paris in which all day, 80 adult men did nothing but walk around in circles and take a two-hour compulsory nap. He bought a small house nearby and invited two men from that asylum to share life with him…
MR. VANIER: …I come back to the reality of pleasure and to the reality of what is my deepest desire and what is your deepest desire.
And … the deepest desire for us all is to be appreciated, to be loved, to be seen as somebody of value.
But not just seen —
Aristotle makes a difference between being admired and being loved. When you admire people, you put them on pedestals. When you love people, you want to be together.
So really, the first meeting I had with people with disabilities, what touched me was their cry for relationship.
Some of them had been in a psychiatric hospital.
All of them had lived pain and the pain of rejection.
One of the words of Jesus to Peter — and you find this at the end of the gospel of Saint John — "Do you love me?"

MS. TIPPETT: All kinds of pain and weakness are difficult for us as human beings. Why is that so excruciating? Why do we do such a bad job with it?
MR. VANIER: … First of all, we don't know what to do with our own pain, so what to do with the pain of others?
We don't know what to do with our own weakness except hide it or pretend it doesn't exist.
So how can we welcome fully the weakness of another if we haven't welcomed our own weakness?
There are very strong words of Martin Luther King. His question was always, how is it that one group — the white group — can despise another group, which is the black group? And will it always be like this? Will we always be having an elite condemning or pushing down others that they consider not worthy?
And he says something, which is quite, what I find extremely beautiful and strong…
we will continue to despise people until we have recognized, loved, and accepted what is despicable in ourselves.
So then we go down, what is it that is despicable in ourselves?
And there are some elements despicable in ourselves, which we don't want to look at,
but which are part of our natures, that we are mortal… [and too]

We are very fragile in front of the future.
Accidents and sicknesses is the reality.
We are born in extreme weakness and our life will end in extreme weakness.
So this, people don't want to hold on to that.
They want to prove something. They want security. They want to have big bank accounts and all that sort of stuff.
So then also, a whole lots of fear is within us.

MS. TIPPETT: I know you've written that, from the point of view of faith, those who are marginalized and considered failures can restore balance to our world. …
MR. VANIER: The balance of our world frequently is seen as a question of power.
That if I have more power and more knowledge, more capacity, then I can do more.
…and when you have power, we can very quickly push people down.
I'm the one that knows and you don't know,
and I'm strong and I'm powerful, I have the knowledge.
And this is the history of humanity.

"As we share our lives with the powerless, we are obliged to leave behind our theories about the world, our dreams and our beautiful thoughts about God, to become grounded in a reality that can be quite harsh." Jean Vanier

MS. TIPPETT: …So I asked Jean Vanier how does he think about the nature of God and of Jesus as he approaches his 80s.
MR. VANIER: My experience today is much more the discovery of how vulnerable God is.
You see, God is so respectful of our freedom.
And if, as the Epistle of John says, God is love, anyone who has loved in their life knows they've become vulnerable.
Where are you and the other person and do you love me back?
So if God is love, it means that God is terribly vulnerable.
And [too] God doesn't want to enter into a relationship where He's obliging or She is obliging us to do something.
The beautiful text in the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelations: "I stand at the door and I knock. If somebody hears me and opens the door, then I will enter."
What touches me there is God knocking at the door, not kicking the door down, but waiting.
Do you, will you open?
Do you hear me?
Because we're in a world where there's so much going on in our heads and our hearts and anxiety and projects that we don't hear God knocking at the door of our hearts.
So I'd say that what touches me the deepest, maybe because I'm becoming myself more vulnerable, is the discovery of the vulnerability of God, who doesn't oblige.

MS. TIPPETT: And, of course, one implication of the vulnerable God, of honor in human freedom is precisely this dark side that we've been talking about,
that human beings cause each other pain, dominate, and destroy.
And so, I'm kind of coming back at you with the question of still, if God is God, is that enough to honor our freedom?
MR. VANIER: …there are so many things we don't know.
And, I just have to honor what I don't know.
— there are so many things I cannot explain, because explanation is something about headiness.
You won't have it in the head.
But the whole question is not to understand,
it's to be attracted to the place of pain in order to give support to those who are suffering. … if we try to know too much, it might cut us away from being present.

It's a very moving thing with St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Francis said he couldn't stand lepers.
And one can understand a disfigured leper with no nose or no ear or parts of gaping, you know?
And in the Middle Ages …20,000 leprosiums, filled with these people that smelt bad and he said, "I hated it. I couldn't stand it."
And then he said that one day, the Lord brought me into the lepers.
“And when I left, there was a new gentleness in my body and in my spirit.”

This was, what struck me, when he said, “a new gentleness in my body and in my spirit.” And it says, “From there, I really left to serve to Lord.” …
from the fear and despisal of what appeared the most dirty…
he discovered there was a presence of God.

Full program information on “The Wisdom of Tenderness” can be found here.

And PS – I had a hard time choosing a picture for this entry.
I wanted to post something uplifting, joyful, something that went with the Season.
I didn’t want a leper.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Originally uploaded by akiruna
and Happy Holidays. May the day find you with those you love or enjoying the Silence.

Or a real Christmas miracle - enjoying both.

... my Christmas message will arrive a bit late.
It's flight was delayed.

My love to you all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Turns Out...

Originally uploaded by hvhe1

turns out the first MRI was wrong.
The MRA done Saturday was normal.

Looks like I got to open my presents early this year.

And I didn't get an aneurysm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So, I Talked with the Doctor

Sandy and me, 1951
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

The neurologist finally called on Wednesday.
The MRI didn’t find a “tumor of the CNS.”
It came up with a small aneurysm in the left carotid artery instead.

I guess that’s in my brain
as that’s where the MRI was aimed
and he then ordered an MRA, this too, of my brain
to have a second look-see.

I had that done last Saturday. Now, I wait for the results.

“Then we’ll sit and decide what we want to do.”

I called my big sister, Sandy, that first night.
She’s a doctor in Wisconsin
I’ve heard her on the phone with patients
and she is wonderful.

Once on a visit here I asked her about this lump I had in my neck.
She palpated.
“Oh, babe! You got a goiter. Better get it checked.”
Then she stepped behind me and reached around
showing me, explaining in way more detail than I needed,
the proper way to feel
Someone’s thyroid.

So, I was updating her
RE: this aneurysm.
And she didn’t hesitate a moment,
“I’ll come down if you have surgery. If you want.”

The immediacy of her offer didn’t fully register
until after I was off the phone.
Just like that. She would be there.

Then, she came out with one of those bedside statements
reserved for family:
Be sure, whatever you do
to keep your blood pressure under control.
Cause... That... Sucker... Will Blow!

After I got off the phone I took my BP.
180 over 95. (And they've got me on two different meds.)
But, lying in bed, slipping off to sleep
I was chuckling. I love Sandy so much!

I don’t think doctors are suppose to say things like,
“That sucker will blow.”

I waited a few days before I called my Mom.
I didn’t want to worry her.
But, after a while it felt dishonest not to.
God has kept her with us
and so why should I pre-empt her participation in
her daughter's life.
I figured I’d just have to adjust to her fussing mother hen stuff.
But, it turns out she fooled me:

"Mom, they found a brain aneurysm."

"And what is that?"
Well, I was pretty sure she knew.
I think she was whom I first heard the term from
when I was a kid.
But, I explained it to her.
And we talked some of interventions
And what we didn’t know
And what we were waiting for
And immediate next steps.

She didn’t seem at all thrown off by developments.
Instead, her advice was simply "not to loose your sense of humor."
And then we talked some more of recent research on "clipping" and "coiling" techniques.

At which point she interrupted,
“Do you know where most strokes occur?"

Well, this went right to the point, I thought, of anatomical considerations
which greatly affect outcome probabilities.
And I didn’t know.
I hadn’t come across the data. - "No, I don't."

Most strokes occur on the toilet!
Promise me, promise me, you will not strain!

There you go.
That’s my family. Never more than 15 minutes removed from working bowel function into a conversation.

So, I Talked with the Doctor: Part Four

half bath inverted
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

So, I’m lying in bed.
Not feeling all that great.
All the migraine meds shoot my bp up, so I’m largely undrugged now.

I’m just lying there staring at the wall…
the towel hanging in the half bath,
when there is a click in my head
quick as fingers snapping, everything is changed.
A wave of “transparency” washes through my vision.

I am incredibly awake, my body filled with energy.

The wall becomes incredible… in some way…
built of both Silence and Light, with and without substance.
The Purity is almost too much.
Then Silence like thick water permeates my body.
It feels delicious, so relaxing, so peaceful.
I pull a pillow close and no longer care to move.

Leaking aneurysms can make you drowsy and confused and mimic migraines.
They’re called “sentinel headaches” and are not to be ignored.
When I lay down I had told myself that if I got any worse
I would go to the Emergency Room.

My internist's nurse had given me a lecture the day before about going to the ER. "We can't afford to assume the aneurysm is stable." Not with headache and chest pains and high BP. But I never went. Staying home in bed was my compromise.

But, this development was no simple headache. Nor was it like any migraine I have ever had.
Was it a shift in consciousness?
Witnessing writ Large?
Or was my aneurysm bleeding slowly into my brain?

I can see how one could die in bed.
I was wrapped in peace, happiness, and beauty.
Everything was perfect
simply as it was.

One step further into this Neverland and I’d need to go to the ER.
I seemed to think just fine, but then there were these bursts of complete
One inch more and I’d have to move.
But, I doubted that I’d have the self-discipline that that would require. It would take enormous effort to get out of this bed.

I looked out the window instead.
The magnolia leaves blowing in the sunshine…
were Incredible. Why?
Was it the way Silence moved with them? The Play of Light they embodied?
I could feel the Silence, feel the Light.
The Ocean we were in was warm.

Then, I so wanted to speak with Her.
And I knew it wouldn’t happen.

I could not recall Her name.
Even as I reached out
I could no longer recall Her form. I tried. But
there was simply the seeking,
this vector from me to Her was all there was and it held all the unspoken details of the life we'd shared. Not a single moment had been lost, it was simply just no longer expressed.
What remained was vector. Me to Her. Consciousness as almost substance,
a bridge
connecting our existence beyond all worldly forms.

And I knew that was how souls recognize each other
with the immediacy of love at first sight, or love beyond good reason.
And I knew that as memory goes
and bodies fade
the connections that our hearts have made
exist beyond this earth
exist beyond all names and forms and labels.

I understood how it is we never loose anyone who “dies.”
I understood a bit of what awaits us all.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Buddha

Christmas Buddha
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
I am very behind on my Christmas prep this year.
I am not even going to worry about it either.

Thailand has a national treasure, a large jade buddha.
He is garbed in a robe of gold thread during the cold season.
And so there came to be a Winter Buddha.

And I have one on my altar in my winter meditation room.
This is his reflection in an old, old mirror.

A Christmas card to one and all.
If you go to Flickr you can download him
and print him on the best paper you can find.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas is Coming

I am totally blown over by the thought of Christmas prep.
Can’t do it.
No ideas.
No brain.

Then I came across “The God Interviews
by Natalie d'Arbeloff.

I read the forward and the first little squib
And ended with an
“Ohhh!” and some tears.
(tears are good!)

This might make a great present!

Or here is sample of Chapter 6, (scroll down some to find it)
In which God agrees to give a “Day in the Life of God,”

Uh - Oh, and now I see ...
It’s carried by UK …
Have I found a present that you have to buy
From Europe?

Where’s that square I had?
Here: Square One.
Day: ? Oh. Two weeks left.

Please send ideas!
You know my ways.


October, 1954
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
Here are Mom, Andy, and Me in 1954.
I am in the middle, FYI.

I called Andy after my MRI to give him an update.
Told him the neurologist thinks it will be negative
since my neurological exam (a rather quick go-over, I thought)
where-in complaining of vision problems
(and memory)

(and cognition- stare at the car radio as long as you want,
the car does not back out of the driveway
until it occurs to you to use the gear shift)

I forgot to tell the doc that once I went blind from a concussion.
That seemed perhaps germaine to me
but, Oh well.

I did mention memory.
And the leg that's atrophied from nerve damage
became self evident as I sat there in my gown.
I'd forgotten that too.

So, the neurologist doesn't expect to find anything
on the MRI.

I was updating Andy.
Saying the doctors don't even want to see me for at least six weeks.
Then it's just to check blood pressure.
The neurologist doesn't expect to do a thing more.

It must be chemical
no lesions.

And Andy,
still to me the little boy in this picture,

"Don't worry, Pat. We'll figure it out."

I cannot tell you
how much
that blows my heart
wide open.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Just for Fun

"Just for Fun" - not really.
I am trying to edit this on the Monday after posting as the JPG Magazine link seemed screwy to me.
Buy, editing is beyond me just now... so I deleted instead.
And kept this...

I had my MRI yesterday.
It's amazing the pressure that builds when you're told, "Now don't move."

I asked if I'd get ear plugs and was told that was possible, but "Most people like the headphones."

So, I got music piped in between my ears as my head was locked into this cage. And the panic bulb was placed into my right hand, with the explanation they wouldn't hear a scream, so squeeze the bulb.

I tried to relax and listen to the music and ignore the rest.
Turns out
That's Hard.

It was much easier to attend to the MRI sounds,
be with them - that jack hammer to the brain
and the music trickled in.

I've no idea how the people trying to ignore the Main Event
ever make it through.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I only do this until I get dizzy & then I lay down on my back & watch the clouds, she said. It sounds simple but you won't believe how many people forget the second part.


Another StoryPeople that I like,
I can’t explain it exactly. But you know
Liking is enough.

I’ve had to cut way back on my blogging of late.
November was a tough month.

Today I saw a neurologist,
And tomorrow I have an MRI.
He doesn’t seem to think they will find too much

Not too much brain. (That’s good)
They have managed to remove most of the pain.
Day Six pain free…
I’d really like to be able to use my eyes normally again.

And think – thinking normally again would be sooo nice.

In lieu of that,
In lieu of that…

Just saying, Hello.

And I can also offer these snippets
collected before November became “impossible”:

Some would suggest that the migraine aura is actually the brain apprehending its own subroutines in consciousness. The fact that there are natural equivalents to drug-induced experiences suggests the possibility that in some sense, a sufferer is observing what's going on in the brain. The drugged or migrained brain is a cranked-up biochemical computer capable of picturing the self-organizing behavior and nonlinear dynamism at play within normally staid reality.

Borourke, everything.

I believe this may be true.

Though migraine certainly doesn't explain all her visions, many experts, including Oliver Sacks, have suggested that many of the religious paintings of Hildegard von Bingen, or Saint Hildegard (1098-1179), reflect the effects of “silent migraine,” a type of migraine attack that doesn't include a headache.

I believe this may also be true.
But then, I am a geneticist and used to using mutants (pathology) to reveal normal metabolic pathways.

He had awakened with the dastardly sudden flash of light before his eyes. Then the following nausea. Then the sharp cleavage of vision and the temporary dimming of sight, and then the accursed one-sided headache...
Diodorus, writing about Aeneas, the father of St Luke

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Amazing Grace

Originally uploaded by LunaSol
This wonderful image is by a woman here in Georgia.

To me it is the path.
The yellow brick road come to earth
is a bit grittier,
and also softer
than Dorothy's.

But after all we are in Georgia
and not Oz
or even Kansas, Bennie.

This was Thanksgiving.

and not...

And today Mom turns 82.
She sent me this link a few minutes ago.

Amazing Grace.

Treat yourself to this blessing.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Manifesting 101

Originally uploaded by Lemon2

All my life I have been contemplating a question of Heidegger’s that has always struck me as strangely profound: why is there something, why not rather nothing?

Have you ever thought about that? We take our life, we take life, we take existence, for granted. We take it as a given, and then we complain that it isn't working out as we wanted it to. But why should we be here in the first place? Why should we exist at all? Why should anything exist at all? Really there’s no reason for it. Why not nothing rather than something? Nothing would be simpler.

Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Gratitude

The next entry, "Thanksgiving Vibhuti" is about a "miracle" - something coming out of nothing.

I've had a few hours to think about what more I could have said by way of explanation. These words are as good as any additional. And take the discussion in yet another direction.

Basically, we create It. Or, God creates It.

Or, probably more accurately (for Non-dualists): It creates It.

Thanksgiving Vibhuti

Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

One reason for this blog is to share what I have come to understand about meditation and consciousness.

HA! Well, anyway.
That’s the hoop I’m shooting at.

What I’m about to post I cannot explain at all.
Not scientifically.
But, sanely putting it out there may be useful
simply because science cannot explain this.
What a huge and wonderful lesson that is for many of us.

So, as Mom and I planned a very quiet, just the two of us Thanksgiving,
I resolved to take my camera along and take a picture,
finally, (after what, five plus years?)
of the “miracle” she keeps in her kitchen.

Mom is a devotee of the Indian avatar, Sathya Sai Baba.
When younger (in her 60's and 70’s), she kept an apartment in his ashram
and would spend the happiest month of her year there.

Too frail to make that trip anymore, Mom still keeps busy locally with the Sai devotees. It was to one of their local celebrations that Mom took three picture of Baba
to set upon the large altar they were creating.
Afterwards, Mom took the pictures home,
only to discover the next day that vibhuti,
a gray sacred ash
that Baba manifests was materializing on the photos.

Well, Mom’s non-English speaking cleaning crew a couple days later, dusted off two of the “dirty” things.
After that, they no longer produced any ash.
But, Mom, now forewarned, sequestered the third and final photo.

It was several months after that,
after hearing Mom’s stories about the vibhuti
and dismissing them with a, “Yeah. Yeah,”
that I finally laid eyes on the picture.

I was blown away.
“She’s not making this up! The picture has vibhuti coming out of it,”
I started telling other family members.
They had to go see this!
What a miracle – if you want to define "miracle" as an event for which science has no explanation …

(this seems a rather inadequate definition,
“but anyway” could be the theme here).

I bought Mom a display case
and hung the photo in it for protection.
Didn’t miracles deserve better than how the Bralley’s had been treating this one?
But anyway…

as you can see from the post here, I didn’t do such an elegant job. I couldn't get it to hang any way but scewed.
But at least the cleaning crew leaves it alone.
No dust from the kitchen gets to it,
and Mom can harvest excess vibhuti from the bottom of the case.

So, this thing, this miracle, has sat
year after year,
in Mom’s kitchen between the stove and refrigerator.
We cleaned away vitamin bottles and clutter so I could snap some pictures.

And I am a bit amazed that in all these years,
I have felt no urge to analyze the vibhuti more scientifically.
It seems almost to have quietly silenced my natural impulses,
that cynical intellect that would dissect to better understand and really "prove" it.

And, I’ve asked my brother, Andy, if he’s not interested in seeing what it’s made of.
He owns the largest array of mass spectrometers in the U.S. and thus probably the world – who better to analyze elements and content?
But, he too seems afflicted with the same complacency
that has descended upon me.
And I have to wonder if this is not part of the miracle.
Something says – go with your eyes – let that suffice – let your mind stop struggling.

I may not have the ambition to streak this ash out across a petri plate,
I can at least take a picture.

So, here it is.
And I will make these observations:

Something about consciousness, either Baba’s or Mom’s, Avatar’s or devotee’s,
causes ash to materialize
and be deposited upon the glass covering the picture.

This looks to me to be a “point event,"
the ash growing up like a bacterial colony
from one single solitary cell.

But, I do not think that this stuff is alive – it’s ash.
It seems dry and inanimate.
Not at all like the spores formed by the bacteria I work with.

To me, it seems as if the ash materializes out of “Nothingness” at one point, and from there it grows, not unlike a volcano spewing out its lava.
In this case, the depths of the earth are the depths of Consciousness,

And, since the picture is hung, approximately perpendicular,
the ash will fall down.
If you look closely at the photo, it appears that some ash when it falls
sticks to a lower part of the glass
and starts yet another “colony.”

Does this mean that the power to materialize more ash resides within the ash itself
rather than at some specific spot on the glass?
That would be like saying
a piece of lava removed from the volcano’s flow
has the ability to create another lava flow, or a second volcano cone.
That’s not how volcano’s work.
But, is that what’s going on here? I don't know.

And that is all I have to offer.

Except to say, that when I Googled for a vibhuti link,
I found pictures of the exact same phenomenon
posted from Chile and Bali

That impressed me.

The scientist in me loves replication,
the experiment repeated.
That’s how we know what’s real.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In the Midst of a Hard Day

This Morning....
Originally uploaded by shesnuckinfuts
All I can say is:

Go here,
Read this

Try to rest and know

In & Outs of November

Augie in Machu
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

I miss Jeanette Winterson!
She has not written her monthly column since last September.
So, I went to November, 2005 and took these snippets.
Both wise and cooky.
I love that.

Then, I came across this picture from my nephew
traveling in Peru.
Thus, the lama and the sacred site.

I will let you connect the dots…
Like: November is springtime in Peru…
(unless - they only have two seasons)… but still, it’s all about opposites.

Or, Why is it so many of the world’s sacred sites
seem to be deserted? Dot. Dot. Dot…

Is this really what Jeanette is trying to tell us?
A warning,
Global warning…
Deep inside us…
… and wasn’t Machu Picchu big on keeping guinea pigs?...
And what’s that say about eating one’s experiment…

I am sure you’d prefer to listen to Jeanette, rather than my be-dotted brain…

I long for emptiness and silence.
From November 7th I am hiding away, disappearing into the woods, because
there is a book I have to write,
and one of the many things that can’t be done in public is to write a book.
Though I expect some one will try it soon as an installation.

And I am so tired that I dream about sleeping when I am asleep.

It is difficult to get a balance between the public and the private.

I am sure that the time we live in right now needs us all to be more public than we might like.
We have to speak out, make our voices heard.
I can’t believe that our home-grown lunatic Tony Blair is planning to spend 20 BILLION on a new generation of nuclear weapons.
Of course we have to speak out…

We aren’t living in a quiet time.
We aren’t going to lie easy in our beds.
I would like to be a hermit, but I can’t be.

At the same time it must be said that living more publicly- that is speaking out, raising our hands, getting in the way of the power mongers, needs a balance on the other side.
Private lives can easily shatter under public responsibilities, and,
what is less talked about
and just as dangerous,
is that the public cause can lose touch with its real values,
if we don’t have a private life to sustain those values….

I watch Tony Blair running from crisis to crisis,
and know that as he gets more and more out of touch
with the real things in life,
he is less and less able to make sane decisions.
Sanity is found in so many inconsequential things,
the small and sustaining pleasures of life,
like kids and dogs and a walk and a steaming cup of coffee in the back yard,
and a poem you want to learn,
and picking up twigs for the fire,
and spending all day cooking for your friends,
and letting your mind play and swim and leap and jump,
instead of forcing it endlessly down the same routes.

Peace is not optional,
and I wonder if we find world peace so difficult because our own peace is so hard to find?

So I am sitting here with a pulled muscle. Me! Atlas!
With a pulled muscle.
I am furious and have to give in.
My body is not stupid,
but I am….

Meanwhile – for everyone worrying about bird flu, let’s start by treating chickens properly…
I am very fond of fowls myself, and keep them very well
and they reward me with eggs and cause no trouble,
and why would I want to put them in cages, feed them steroids,
cut off their beaks and let their feet weld to the floor because they can’t move?

Would you do that to a chicken?

Then never ever eat any chicken product where that could have happened.

Simple stuff, changing the world.
It starts in your mouth.

. . . Happy Thanksgiving. Gobble, Gobble.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When I Am Only A Dream

Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

Today I want to share the words of Yogananda,
from his poem,
When I Am Only A Dream.”

Autobiography of a Yogi was one of the first “spiritual” books I ever read.
I pulled out my battered copy just last week, when I read that Adyashanti had Bell’s palsy.
Yogananda taught kriya yoga, a system that involved bodily purification.
Upon his death in 1952, his body did not decay.

There is so much I do not understand regarding the effects of spiritual practice upon the body.
It seems so easy to simply say, “I don’t know a thing.”
But, that’s not really true.

It's just that sometimes it's really hard to keep your perspective.

I found these words comforting.

When no earthly call will ever reveal
My whereabouts in unplumbed space,
When no shallow entreaty or stern stentorian command will bring from me an answer—
I will smile in your mind when you are right,
And when you are wrong I will weep through my eyes,
Dimly peering at you in the dark,
And weep through your eyes, perchance;
And I will whisper to you through your conscience,
And I will reason with you through your reason,
And I will love all through your love.
When you are able no longer to talk with me,
Read my Whispers from Eternity;
Eternally through it I will talk to you.
Unknown I will walk by your side
And guard you with invisible arms.
And as soon as you know my Beloved
And hear His voice in silence,
You will know me again more tangibly than you knew me on this earth plane.

Paramashansa Yogananda

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by LunaSol

I found this image stunning, perhaps because I once had just such a kitty, Kitty Carlisle.

My brain still not working - tends to just such a stare as this cat displays.
Rather suspended.
Best not to say a thing. ...except

... why were we ever given "Think and Do" books in grade school? Sets up this whole ethic.

So, I am trying to "Do" something with eyes that don't want to focus. Came up with some pictures in the kitchen: Sumi Landscape and Knife.

Now having "Do, Did, Done," I can switch to talking books and closed eyes. (And the stare becomes internal.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Going On

Originally uploaded by ...*melissa*...
That clear brain only lasted for about an hour.

So, I am kind of just staggering on, seeing the Doc, laughing at the surreal communication, the surreal American medical system.

I want a neurologist to check out my brain - show me the hoops I have to go through.

So, until I am my chatty self again, I found a poem:

Nobody Makes It Up that Mountain

The truth is nobody
makes it up that mountain,
no matter what the guidebooks
and signposts say,
and each time you slip
it seems such a simple thing
that brought you down:
your shoelaces need tightening,
the load adjusting,
you must not let that thought
come to distract you again.

But if you really want to reach
the promised land, fall back.
It lies behind you;
it is where you go in the afternoon
when you lean away from the world
and watch the sun sink
behind the trees.

It is the meadow you left
in your childhood, just to see
if you could find it again.

Prartho Sereno

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Originally uploaded by *CA*

So, let's see.

It's Saturday night and for the first time in a long week, I am beginning to feel like my self again.
Though a bit scraggly, like this here ole bird.

I am getting my brain back. And will return ...soon?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Through My Window

Thru my window 5
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
I took this picture the other morning. Pretty fall days here. The cold fogged the window and I couldn't see out clearly. Take it as a metaphor.

My mom has been in and out, in and out of the hospital for the past couple weeks. Somehow with "all that" I found myself online early this morning searching for I don't know what... something to hold onto.

I found this poem by Dorothy Hunt.
It says enough for now.

Look how this nakedness shows its vast wardrobe!
Here it dresses as a rose;
there it dresses as a car;
here the suit is Mother;
there the suit is Daughter.
Spirit does not inhabit these things.
Nothingness does not climb in and out.
The rose grows thorns
and does not bloom in winter;
the mother will one day sleep without waking
and her daughter will weep.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fear, Grief. Ego, Self.

Falling leaf
Originally uploaded by dbl nautilus

I may have excerpted part of this before (from Adyashanti’s, The Impact of Awakening), but it’s worth repeating.
And it moves me deeply.

…the human condition contains within it the unconscious need to struggle. Why? Because by remaining in a state of constant struggle we maintain the boundaries that create the sense of a separate self… And even more shocking is the discovery that… we want to remain separate… by remaining separate we maintain the sense of being someone different, special, and unique…Struggling only ceases when you passionately inquire into who and what you truly are…

With nothing to oppose, the false sense of self evaporates into nothingness… Your identity is cut loose from all that is familiar and known, and you find yourself floating in a vast expanse with nothing to grab hold of. This groundless expanse is the foretaste of liberation, but few choose to remain in this unknown territory…

This is not the liberation that most people envision when they start out… most people envision a freedom that they can attain and possess…What I am describing is the experience of Self void of any sense of selfhood, a timeless and uncaused condition which is constantly birthing manifest existence into form.

To have a glimpse of this profound freedom requires very little, but to live it requires the destruction of every concept of self you have ever held…

And it was these last words that must have rung so true to me, for here, I burst into tears, that ultimately reduced me into a cramping belly full of grief and sobs.

What is the truth you truly want, yearn for, desire to tell yourself?

We are back to that word I spent yesterday in vain trying to recall: “yearning.”
That was Allan’s word last week for me at meditation group.
He said that I had done so much, but still there was a “yearning.”
“Longing” was what Adya spoke of and I blogged just a bit ago.

I look inside to see what it is that I so long for.
What is it
that my belly aches for and for which my heart’s on fire?

I look inside and I see nothing.

How very strange: to ache into complete collapse, for absolutely nothing.

One of these days I shall have to just
let go.
And go.
Into nothingness.
How impossible
How absolutely terrifying.

Long ago, Marianne and I stood silent, holding our insect collection box.
We had caught a butterfly and popped it inside, then waited for the mothballs to take affect.
Came the time to peer inside and as she carefully lift the lid
in a whisper and with awe, she uttered words I had never heard before:
“death grip”
And I knew Immediately and was chilled.
The butterfly, in those last moments, had wrapped its legs desperately around a twig
as if by holding on with all its will would
alter the inevitable.

Seems I recapitulate those efforts
every moment now.
I hold on, grasping at my self
in my own version of a death grip.

I thought (having read–up on the process) that that was the ultimate in barriers.

But now,
right there is also such deep, deep grief: to lose my self,
to lose “She who I do love”…
yes, Love
even if in ignorance.

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid.
The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning.
I keep swallowing…. For in grief, nothing “stays put.”
One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs.
Round and round.
Everything repeats.
Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?”
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed.

Whom do I grieve?
What do I fear?
“She who has been with me all along”
“She who I have been this eternity?”

The loss of ego,
The loss of Self?

The pain of incarnating- Self becoming lost in self?
The pain of awakening- self giving way to Self?

I think it must be both.

And am I going in circles, or am I on a spiral?

Let Katie Describe It

Double Nautilus
Originally uploaded by dbl nautilus
When you start to realize what Truth is, you recognize that Truth is not an abstraction, it is not out there at a distance from you… You discover that Truth is who you are without your story or script, right now… It’s not something you prepare for or earn or deserve. Awakening is a radical shift in identity. You think you’re you, but you’re not. You are eternal being.
Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing.

A “radical shift in identity” those are the operative words I’d like to point out just now. Adya says you don’t prepare for this, but I think that in some sense you must.
How else to describe the ego’s flight in terror?
How else to explain the grieving process?
Something in you can get a glimpse.

And the rest of this consists of excerpts from Byron Katie’s little book, Question Your Thinking Change The World, found in the chapter on Self Realization.

It’s common for me to speak from the position of a personality, from the position of mankind, from the position of the earth, from the position of God, from the position of a rock.
And I’ll call myself “it,” because I don’t have a reference point for separation.
I am all those things, and I don’t have any concept that I’m not.
I’ve simply learned to speak in a way that doesn’t alienate people.
It leaves me benign, unseen, unknown.
It leaves me in a comfortable place for people.

I would kiss the ground I walk on – it’s all me.
But to kiss the ground would draw attention to itself.
That’s what the first three years after I woke up looked like.
It’s subtler now, more invisible.
It has matured.

As closely as I can describe it in words, I am your heart.
I am what you look like inside yourself…
I am no one.
I am just a mirror.
I am the face in the mirror.

I am your heart.
I am the depth you don't listen to: in your face, from here.
It had to get louder, because your beliefs block it out from there...
I am the voice so covered up with beliefs that you can't hear it inside yourself.
So I appear out here, in your face –
which is really inside yourself.

I experience everything frame by frame.
It’s like looking at the comics…
each frame is a universe in itself, not connected with any other…
There is literally no time and space, no past future or present, even, no one coming, no one going…
There’s no meaning to it, no motive in it.
And finally you get to a place where nothing moves.
That is home, the place we all long for…

People ask how I can live if nothing has any meaning and I am no one.
It’s very simple.
We are being lived.
We’re not doing it…
Without a story, we move effortlessly, in perfect health, fluidity, freely, with a lot of love, and without war, without resistance…

The reason this speaks is because it does.
If I thought I was doing it, I wouldn’t be such a fool.
My only purpose is to do what I’m apparently doing…
if someone asks me a question, my purpose is to give my experience through my answer.
I’m an effect of their suffering…

It’s personal and it’s not personal.
It’s personal in that the whole world is me – a mirror image that I am and love.
Without it, I am bodiless…
On the other hand, it’s not personal, because I see nothing more than a mirror image.
Until God – reality- moves, I have no movement.
Every movement, every sound, every breath, every molecule, every atom is nothing more than a mirror image of God…

Whenever you speak, it’s God speaking.
When a flower blooms, it’s God.
When Hitler marches, it’s God.
I see only God.

Every word is the sound of God.
Every word is the word of God.
There is nothing personal here.
And everything is personal.
If the moon rises, it’s for you.
You’re the one watching it! (And that’s just a beginning.)

There is no this soul or that soul.
There’s only one.
And that’s the last story.
There’s only one. And not even that…

Even so-called truths eventually fall away.
Every truth is a distortion of what is.
The last truth – I call it the last judgment – is
“God is everything, God is good.”
Ultimately even this isn’t true.
But as long as it works for you, I say keep it and have a wonderful life.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Originally uploaded by

Some people still may be gripped with the grace, in many ways, of longing.
And like any longing, any longing you have at all,
the energy of it starts here:

“I”… “long”… “for”… whatever it is – love, enlightenment, God.

It matters not.

It’s the energy of the longing that starts here. And you can feel it.
What I want.
What I long for.
So generally that’s the direction we go,
for as long as we do. We go that direction.
Cause that’s the way it seems to be moving.

Because the mind interprets longing in terms of desire:
“What I want,” as opposed to, “What I long for.”

I can want to have chocolate ice cream.
But, I’m probably not going to long for it.
They are two different experiences in a way.
But the mind turns longing into desire, “What I want.”

Longing is not really the same as wanting or grasping although it is almost always addressed that way.
Longing is really a call.

That’s what longing really is.
As if the Self is calling to Itself.

And what would you do, what do you do when someone calls your name?
If they’re behind you and they call your name, their energy is also starting from their mouth and going right past you right in that direction.
Just imagine if every time someone called your name you looked in the direction the voice was traveling, rather than in the direction the voice came from.
We’d never meet anybody…

And yet with longing that is the relationship one has.
It starts here, the energy goes out here, and we go right with it.

But instead, you just trace it back.
Don’t take it as desire so much as a call from the Self to the Self.
And you go to the source of the call.

Instead of I want - whatever it is.
It’s whatever you want.

And that last step is crucial, that last step before the longing arose.
That’s the source of the longing.
Once you come back, longing disappears.
So all of this is really the backward step…

Spirituality in large part, in actuality, is the backward step.
Not grasping for what you long,
but listening from where you long.

Backwards, backwards.
Not using awareness so much as turning and seeing with awareness,
so that Awareness recognizes itself…
That’s Awakening.
That’s returning to our Self.

July, 2007, at the Omega Institute.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Just for a moment

Light on rock, II
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

Everyone is busy
But I am not.
Everyone is called somewhere
But I am not.

I am alone
But I am not.

There is a broom by the
There is light
upon the stones.
A breeze runs through the
tree tops.
And golden leaves fall to earth.

Just for this moment.

like that the light is gone
in no more than a shutter snap

The light is gone.
The breeze is still.

Once more
I am alone.

the next moment
is a train
is a bird
is a breeze.

I am sitting alone
But I am not.

a poem for you all, by P.Bralley (I wish the formatting would work. Some lines are indented (ideally- or was it just for the moment?))

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wei Wu Wei

leftover drops
Originally uploaded by Steve took it
There is something backward in how a blog is written and then appreciated. Thus, you will probably read this before you read the brief introduction I made earlier regarding Wei Wu Wei.

You may enjoy a website of his writings and background. He was apparently one of the quietly enlightened. Living in the West, writing from 1958 to the 70's.

From 'Why Lazarus Laughed':

When you give a shilling to a beggar
- do you realize that you are giving it to yourself?
When you help a lame dog over a stile
- do you realize that you yourself are being helped?
When you kick a man when he is down
- do you realize that you are kicking yourself?
Give him another kick - if you deserve it!
... ...
Living should be perpetual and universal benediction.

Or, if you prefer to look at things from the other side of self:

From 'Ask The Awakened':

Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 per cent
Of everything you think,
And of everything you do,
Is for yourself -
And there isn't one.

Myriad Bubbles

On the Bubble
Originally uploaded by Terretta

I have come across the writings of a Buddhist -Taoist by the name of Wei Wu Wei. Actually Irish in origin, he chose to write anonymously, living with his wife in Monaco.

I like how he puts things.

A myriad bubbles were floating on the surface of a stream.
'What are you?' I cried to them as they drifted by.
'I am a bubble, of course' nearly a myriad bubbles answered,
and there was surprise and indignation in their voices as they passed.

But, here and there, a lonely bubble answered,
'We are this stream', and there was neither surprise nor indignation in their voices,
but just a quiet certitude.

Wei Wu Wei

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Plato’s Dialogs

When I was in sixth grade we had to make a notebook on Greece.
It consisted of our gleanings of Greek influences that we found around us right there in Decatur, Illinois in 1961.
What we discovered was that the impact of Greek thought was huge and mostly totally unnoticed.
Our houses used Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian columns to set off their doors.
Words in the Herald and Review Newspaper often were of Greek origin.
And on the radio came the name repeatedly of our States Attorney, Basil Greanias, father of Bill, a boy I went to school with.

We snipped and noted occurrences for months as we read aloud in class each day the Iliad and Odyssey.
Mastering the complex genealogy of those tales required that our readings be abruptly interrupted as each character appeared.
Someone would be called upon to stand and recite from memory things like, “Agamemnon: Son of Atreus, husband of Clytemnestra, brother of Menelaus.”

But, for all our studies of the Greeks, we were never told the allegory of Plato’s cave in which prisoner’s are bound so that they can only see the shadows cast upon the wall from a fire lit behind them.
They think that this is all there is and that the shadows are real.
And even if released and forced to turn around to see the fire and the puppets, they become bewildered and unhappy.
Only a few can bear to realize that the shadows are not real and undertake the journey towards liberation out of the cave into the real world.

Nor, were we told that if Plato wanted to use symbols from our time he would have replaced the cave with a movie theater and the shadows with the pictures on the screen.

Or that the cave is a metaphor for mind
and that outside of the cave is the pure, transcendental realm of what Plato called, the Good.

Nor, did I suspect that one day I would come to see for myself, that this world that we call real is nothing but a three dimensional projection of images upon an all pervading ocean "screen" of Nothingness.
And that the Ocean of Nothing is not only what is really Real
but also what is Good.

So a few weeks ago, as I sat in the library,
stunned motionless by the vagarities of love,
and my eyes fell upon Plato Unmasked, The Dialogues Made New,
something seemed
to slowly


Eventually I got up,
pulled the volume from the shelf
and returned with it back to my seat.

I flipped through the pages.
It felt good.
I could almost hear Piggy Bop and the Cat’s Meow running renditions of some of the dialogs.

So, Plato has been hanging round in the back of my mind for a while now.
And last weekend I returned once more to the library
resolved to take yet another look.

(Here’s a long PDF on Consciousness. For the Cave allegory, scroll to page 17.)

(Here’s a link to the UVa course on consciousness and source of the Plato stuff – looks interesting)

Chariot of the Soul

Feather Shadows 5
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
I found this story that I liked.
It’s from Plato’s Phaedrus, a fable Socrates once told.
Take it as a story.
Just a story.

Except, that curiously, a chariot and wild horses also gets used in Bhagavad Gita commentaries.
Here, the horses are taken to be the senses that pull the chariot along the roads of desire when the charioteer possesses an undisciplined mind and cannot tame his senses.

Which makes me think that all this really boils down to teachings on consciousness,
and that Advaita Vedanta, the Platonic Good, and Byron Katie share more things in common than you might expect.

Gift from the gods
It’s said that those who fall in love become insane. So what? Great blessings come from madness, if sent as a gift from the gods. There’s the madness of the prophets; …the madness of poets …last, there’s the madness of love a gift from the gods that brings us the greatest happiness. But to understand how this gift works, we need to consider the nature of the soul.

Fable of the chariot of the soul
First, it’s immortal. Second, its form is like a chariot with two winged horses. Now the souls of gods are different from those of humans. In their souls both the charioteer and horses are noble. But for human souls, one of the two horses is a bit of a nag and difficult to control. Also, the steeds of the gods never lose their wings, but those of human souls do. And when this happens the chariot goes into free fall, landing on a body that it occupies and turns into a living being.

An obvious question is why a soul’s horses would lose their wings. It is the desire of every soul’s charioteer to join the chariots of the gods in heaven and stand on the edge of the universe and look beyond to behold every truth in its pure essence, without shape or color, and grasped only by the mind.

Souls that reach this place, and hold their spot, rotate with the universe and after a complete revolution they have seen every truth there is to know. Then these charioteers stable their steeds and live forever in the realm of the gods.

But most human souls do not fare so well. A few reach the edge of the universe and gaze upon the truth for a time, but constantly have to look away to manage their horses, the unruly of his two steeds lurching and rearing and straining at the bit… The rest of the charioteers, who are the majority, are unable to manage even this much. Their team of horses is completely out of control. Chariots collide, tattering or breaking off horses’ wings. During this melee these charioteers shout back and forth, asking whether any of them has seen the truth. Those who have reached the edge of the universe then fallen away tell of the little they have seen. This passes from the lips of one charioteer to the next, a spreading rumor that is constantly distorted in the retelling. Putting together these bits and pieces, each charioteer weaves his own erroneous view of reality until their horses have finally lost their wings and, one by one, chariots begin dropping out of the race and fall back to earth. …

Which brings us to love’s madness. During a reincarnation, objects on earth will remind a soul of whatever portion of eternal truth it captured on its ascent to heaven … The easiest to recall is beauty, for it is seen directly with the eyes, which are our sharpest sense.

It is this recollection of beauty that causes love’s madness. For a soul with only a brief and unclear perception of eternal beauty during its ascent to heaven, the madness takes the form of a crazed sexual urge. But souls that recollect eternal beauty clearly sense they are gazing upon something divine. …When in this state the soul pulsates, as if its lost wings were suddenly sprouting new feathers. This is the joy of a soul sensing its own divinity…

And what about the love object, say a beautiful young boy? How will he react to this reverence and attention? Cautiously at first, but once he realizes the reverence is genuine and not a disguise for base passion… a remarkable thing will happen. The boy will begin to see his own beauty reflected in the eyes of this lover. Inspired by this beauty, his own wings will begin to grow.

Same Wings and Eternal Love
Now such a love affair is unlike any other. For even when it is over the two will remain good friends for life, having shared something divine. And it is a law of the universe that when any soul’s wings begin to sprout, that soul will never lapse into evil… And imagine the glory that day when these two souls are given their wings and discover that their plumage is identical – testimony to their earlier love. It will link them together forever.

This, of course, is not a non-dual teaching where-in “What you see is your Self.”
But, who’s to say where You drop off and Divinity begins.

And I like it.

And I post it on what would have been Our Twentieth Anniversary,
and give thanks for what I have glimpsed through love.

Friday, October 12, 2007

And Chickens too

Behavioral Genetics, 1 of 3
Originally uploaded by *CA*
Blogger's rules sometimes thwart me.

But, here are some chickens that would go very nicely with a red wheelbarrow.

I think.


And it doesn't have to mean a thing.
"The no Lesson here Lesson."

How nice!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

William Carlos Williams

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Who Says

When you wake up in the morning, you may notice that by the time you realize you're thinking,
you're already being thought.
Thoughts just appear.
You're not doing them.

Wherever you go, whomever you're with, the voice in your head goes with you, whispering, nagging, enticing, judging, chattering, shaming, guilt-tripping, or yelling at you.

Most people think that they are what their thoughts tell them they are.
One day I noticed that I wasn't breathing—I was being breathed.
Then I also noticed, to my amazement, that I wasn't thinking—that I was actually being thought and that thinking isn't personal.

That voice in my head, isn't it me?
Don't I think my thoughts?
You can answer this for yourself.
If the voice in your head is you, who's the one listening to it?
Byron Katie, many quotes

Rumi, of course, put this whole discussion regarding the source of thought into wonderfully poetic terms.

Who Says Words With My Mouth?

Night Buddha II
Originally uploaded by

These are Rumi's reflections regarding where thoughts come from.

(and once again I wrestle with Blogger formatting...)

Who Says Words With My Mouth?

All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from,
and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I'll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I'm like a bird from another continent,
sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear
who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord,
and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say.
I don't plan it.
When I'm outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

Rumi, trans. by Coleman Barks

Two Kinds of "I Don’t Know"

In the last few blogs you may have noticed that people are wrestling with the simple thought, “I don’t know.”
The blogs have actually described two very different types of “I don’t know.”

First, there is the "I don’t know" arising from what Buddhists call conditionings.
Adya describes these thoughts as almost like little computer programs
that just whizz round and round. They may have, at one point in our lives, protected us from being burned.
But, mostly now, they just whirl along.

Here, is Eckhart Tolle’s description of such thinking patterns:

…after two ducks get into a fight, which never lasts long, they will separate and float off in opposite directions. Then each duck will flap its wings vigorously a few times, thus releasing the surplus energy that built up during the fight. After they flap their wings, they float on peacefully, as if nothing had ever happened.

If the duck had a human mind, it would keep the fight alive by thinking, by story-making. This would probably be the duck's story: "I don't believe what he just did. He came to within five inches of me. He thinks he owns this pond. He has no consideration for my private space. I'll never trust him again. Next time he'll try something else just to annoy me. I'm sure he's plotting something already. But I'm not going to stand for this. I'll teach him a lesson he won't forget." And on and on the mind spins its tales, still thinking and talking about it days, months, or years later. As far as the body is concerned, the fight is still continuing, and the energy it generates in response to all those thoughts is emotion, which in turn generates more thinking. This becomes the emotional thinking of the ego. You can see how problematic the duck's life would become if it had a human mind. But this is how most humans live all the time. No situation or event is ever really finished. The mind and the mind-made "me and my story" keep it going.
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth.

It is this whirl of thought found in all the worried, “I don’t know” and
“I am not sure.”
In Tolle’s teachings these thoughts are just the pain body stirring up some drama.
In Maharishi’s teaching it was called “un-stressing.”
Byron Katie calls it “a un-inquired thought”
or the “story” that you’re going to go spouting
as you refuse to accept the reality of
What Is.

She Who is Really Good with Not Knowing
simply called it “Yackety-yack.”
Meaning that she recognized it as story
and could largely witness it as Tolle would suggest.

But… there is a second kind of
“I don’t know.”

Both Adyashanti and Byron Katie have made it very clear:
We don’t really think our thoughts.
Because they come,
unbidden really, from “somewhere deep inside,”
as Maharishi would say.

This is the second kind of thought.
It comes from somewhere deep inside, from Silence, from Truth.
Or, as Adya says,
They come right out of the Nothingness of “I don’t know.”
(If you'd like to read about the wet prayer flags go here.)